INDIANAPOLIS – While more than 300 prospects migrated to Indianapolis in late February for combine testing, it was not the on-the-field numbers that scouts were dissecting for Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones.
There was no 4.5-40-yard dash or 25 reps on the bench press to be evaluated.
Instead, it was the medical records of Jones that became the talk of his combine.
“Our main focus was to come here and visit with all the doctors so all the doctors can see me,” Jones said back during February’s combine. “Take all the tests I can that they needed me to take so that they can see that I’m healthy.”
Jones played and started in 26 games for Georgia over the past two seasons but it is a neck injury suffered in 2009 that has NFL personnel worried.
As a freshman at the Southern California, Jones’ season was cut short after eight games. The following spring, he transferred back to his home state of Georgia.
Numerous spine specialists examined Jones and declared that following a redshirt season he could return to the football field.
“I have a slight narrowing in my spine between the C4 and C5 (vertebrae). Like pretty much everybody – probably some of (you) have spinal stenosis and don’t know it,” Jones said.
“I played two years of SEC football, red-shirted, practiced every day (and) never had any symptoms. I feel that I’m healthy. The doctors felt that I was healthy (at the combine). So. I’m excited.”
In two seasons in Athens, Jones was destructive in the nation’s best conference.
Jones racked up 28 sacks and 45.5 tackles for loss in two seasons and led the nation in both categories this past year.
He forced seven fumbles in 2012 and played his best against the Bulldogs’ stiffest competition.
In two career meetings against Florida, Jones had seven sacks including a 13-tackle performance in 2012 leading Georgia’s upset of the third-ranked Gators.
“I feel like I’m an impact player. I make plays,” the six-foot-three-inch, 241-pound linebacker said.
“I think I bring versatility to the team. I can play ‘SAM’ linebacker. I can play ‘WILL’ linebacker. I can play 4-3. I can play a 3-4. I’m just going to get after you. I’m going to get after the quarterback every play.”
From a talent standpoint, Jones is considered one of the premier prospects in the draft and could excel on the outside of a 3-4 defensive scheme.
Once Jones announced his declaration to forego his final season of eligibility he has been forced to answer repetitive questions on whether or not his neck is durable enough for a career in the NFL.
The process at times has been stressful, but Jones pointed to a mantra he lives by in his pursuit of a professional career.
“One of my favorite quotes is, ‘It’s not how you drive, it’s how you arrive,’ ” Jones said. “No matter where you’ve come from, or no matter what you’re going through if you stay focused and stay confident, you can always be what you want to be.”
LOOKING AT THE 2013 NFL DRAFT'S OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS
THE LAST FIVE
The last five outside linebackers drafted by the Colts:
2008: Philip Wheeler, third round, Georgia Tech
2007: Clint Session, fourth round, Pittsburgh
2006: Freddy Keiaho, third round, San Diego State
THIS YEAR'S DRAFT
An alphabetical list of outside linebackers expected to be selected in the 2012 NFL Draft (*-denotes underclassman):
Arthur Brown, Kansas State
Michael Buchanan, Illinois
Jamie Collins, Southern Mississippi
Khaseem Greene, Rutgers
Jarvis Jones*, Georgia
Dion Jordan, Oregon
Sio Moore, Connecticut
John Simon, Ohio State
Chase Thomas, Stanford
Trevardo Williams, Connecticut
Note: The content in this story and in the series of draft-eligible players that appears on Colts.com in no way reflects the position of the Indianapolis Colts.